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S.C. Sen. Hembree’s condition improves as he’s pulled from coma, taken off ventilator

S.C. Senator Greg Hembree (right) speaks during a Veteran’s Day ceremony in North Myrtle Beach on Nov. 11, 2016.
S.C. Senator Greg Hembree (right) speaks during a Veteran’s Day ceremony in North Myrtle Beach on Nov. 11, 2016. jlee@thesunnews

South Carolina state Sen. Greg Hembree was taken off a ventilator Saturday morning and is out of a medically-induced coma and alert, according to his daughter, Nora Hembree Battle.

Hembree, 57, was initially hospitalized on July 26 for a brain aneurysm and was apparently recovering. But doctors placed him in a medically-induced coma after he contracted a staph infection, most likely from an IV, eight days ago, according to Hembree Battle.

“We are happy to be talking with him. It has been a long eight days but everything is progressing in the right direction,” Hembree Battle said. “We don’t have any real timeline set for recovery. He’s still in the [Intensive Care Unit] and we’re taking things day by day, but it’s definitely wonderful news that he’s off a ventilator and out of a medically-induced coma.”

Hembree was able to view some of the well-wishing cards he has received Saturday.

The Republican has served as South Carolina’s District 28 senator representing Horry and Dillon counties since 2013 and was previously the 15th Judicial Circuit Solicitor, a position now held by Jimmy Richardson.

He is an attorney with the law firm Monckton Hembree and Humphries, and lives in Little River with his wife, Renee.

Hembree was conscious the night of his aneurysm and doctors initially said they expected him to remain in the hospital for several weeks.

But he developed the infection and it spread through his bloodstream into his lungs and settled there, and Hembree Battle said the coma and ventilator were administered to help him heal and allow fluid buildup in his lungs to drain.

“We have no idea how much longer he’ll be in the hospital,” Hembree Battle said.

Though there’s apparently still a long road to recovery, Hembree Battle said Saturday morning was like “Christmas morning in our house.”

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